The Jim Murray 2020 World Whisky of the Year winners have been revealed in the 17th edition of the famed tome.
Each edition contains more than 4600 detailed, professionally analysed and easy to understand tasting notes on the world’s leading and lesser known whiskies. Annually and without fear or favour, and after carefully tasting over 1000 new whiskies, he awards those which he believes deserve special recognition, calling out the best of the best.
World Whisky of the Year, 1792 Full Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon, and its two runners up, William Larue Weller 125.7 proof and Thomas Handy Sazerac Rye 127.2 proof, are all produced by Buffalo Trace.
“There will be eyebrows raised and claims of favoritism which, of course, is never the case with the Whiskey Bible: I call it exactly as I see it,” said Murray.
“Once I knew the top three were from the same company, I spent two extra days running through my top 10 whiskies once more, and the results came out exactly the same!”
Other winners include Taiwanese Nantou Distillery Omar Cask Strength Bourbon Cask (Single Cask of the Year), Glen Grant Aged 18 Years Rare Edition (Scotch), Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost & Rare (Blended Scotch), Penderyn Single Cask no.M75-32 (European), and Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt (Japanese).
It’s the fourth year in a row that Glen Grant has been awarded top honours for its category. It also won “Single Malt of the Year” and “Best Single Malt Scotch Aged 16-21 years”.
Building on last year’s remark that the 18 Year Old single malt “carried the banner for Scotland,” and “displayed Speyside Whisky in its most sparkling light,” Jim remarked this year that that he could find no faults in the liquid, and called it, “As usual, sublime,” adding that he “didn’t think it possible. But this distillery has just upped its game. Though, perhaps it does have two new challengers now: The Glen Grant 15 and The Glen Grant Rothes Chronicles Cask Haven.”
The Glen Grant Rothes Chronicles Cask Haven (a Global Travel Retail exclusive) has been awarded “Best No Age Statement”. Calling this particular expression “technically perfect” Murray explains it as “a malt which takes ‘understatement’ to a new level,” and remarked that it leaves the drinker “spellbound as its secrets slowly unfold. To do descriptors barely do it justice.”
Dennis Malcolm, Glen Grant’s Master Distiller, said, “To be awarded ‘Scotch Whisky of the Year’ for a record fourth year with our 18YO is an incredible honour. Unprecedented! With all of the remarkable whiskies that come from our corner of the world, we are thrilled to share this news, in addition the accolades again this year on our 10 and 15YO expressions.
“To add, we couldn’t be more pleased that an exclusive offering like Cask Haven is recognised for the complex, beautiful liquid that it is. We take so much pride in creating our unique expressions, and we’re delighted and humbled to see that the consistent quality of these beautiful products continues to be recognised by industry legends like Jim Murray.”